MANUEL E. CANTU
PHARR - Manuel E. Cantu, 102 years old, passed away peacefully at Rio Grande Regional Hospital surrounded by his loving family on July 23, 2018. Manuel E. Cantu was born on August 9, 1915, in Abram, Texas. He was reared at El Capote Ranch and resided in Pharr, TX most of his life. He was a World War II Purple Heart Veteran who served along with his four younger brothers for five years overseas. He was in Italy, Sicily, France, Belgium, Germany, and was hospitalized in Africa. He was a US Army soldier serving in the 36th Division 142nd Regiment. He received the Purple Heart Medal and was pinned when he was 101 years old in Weslaco under the direction of Area Agency for Aging and Social Security at a Centenarian Celebration.
Manuel E. Cantu was employed by the Texas Department of Transportation in Pharr for 30 years. He retired from The Texas Department of Transportation as a foreman with his own crew taking care of Texas State Parks in the Rio Grande Valley.
Mr. Cantu was married to the love of his life, the late Guadalupe Lopez Cantu, for 65 years. He is survived by his five children, all graduates of Pan American University in Edinburg, TX. His children are: Maria Elena (Saul) Corona of San Juan, TX, Ester (Gary) Saner of Kerrville, TX, Richard L. Cantu of Houston, TX, Margie (Jim) Patterson of South Fork, CO, and Alicia Cantu of Dallas, TX; five grandchildren, Saul (Alba) Corona, Jr. of Elgin, TX, Michelle (Rex) Costley of San Juan, TX, Joel Brian Corona of Pharr, TX, Richard Jason Cantu of Gulfport, MS, Ruby Mae Cantu of San Antonio, TX; and five great-grandchildren, Madeleine, Elizabeth, and Christian Costley, all of San Juan, TX, Trystan and Saul Leonel Corona, both of Elgin, TX.
Manuel E. Cantu is preceded in death by his parents, Juan Manuel Cantu and Maria Magdalena Espinoza Cantu; his brother, Adalberto (†Vicky) Cantu of Shreveport, LA, Baldemar (†Lupita) Cantu of Houston, TX, Gilberto (Mary) Cantu, of Bossier City, LA, Sigifredo (Florence) Cantu of Camden, N.J., Alfredo (Delia) Cantu of McAllen, TX; and one sister, Maria Lina Cantu (†Beto) Villarreal of Mission, TX. Mr. Cantu is survived by his siblings: Irene Cantu Varela of CA, Juan Manuel (Mela) Cantu, Jr. of Midland, TX, and Angelica Cantu Yount of Tulsa, OK; numerous nieces and nephews.
Manuel E. Cantu was a loving and devoted son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He especially loved the little ones that made him laugh and brightened his life. The song “Small Town Southern Man” by Alan Jackson described Mr. Cantu with many similarities. He had one true love his wife, “Lupita” for 65 years. He loved his five children (four daughters and only one son). As a Veteran soldier, he was very patriotic all his life. Mr. Cantu was very proud to be an American and always displayed the U.S. Flag. He was a small town gentleman and a very hard working loyal family man. The most important things in his life were: God, his wife, and his children. Manuel E. Cantu attended church every Sunday. He was a member of St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Pharr, Texas. In his later years, he became a St. Jude’s homebound parishioner.
Warmest thanks and sincere gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Holder from St. Jude’s who brought Holy Communion to his home weekly. Also, thank you to Father Leo, Father Jose, Father Juan, and Brother Sebastian from St. Jude and Father Paul from Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Manuel E. Cantu lived with his eldest daughter, Maria Elena Corona, for ten years. We are forever grateful to Norma and Justo Duran who helped as caregivers.
Our family is very grateful to The Rio Grande Regional Hospital Doctors, Nurses, and Staff for their great care. Thank you to Legends Health Care and Therapy for their wonderful care and support. Thank you Memorial Funeral Home for your planning, kindness, and assistance.
We are very thankful to his family doctor, Dr. Alvaro Giraldo; most grateful to his pulmonologist, Dr. Rodrigo Lema; Thurmond Eye Associates, Dr. Alexander; and Dermatologist, Dr. Linn.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 9 p.m., with a 7 p.m. rosary Wednesday, July 25, 2018, at Memorial Funeral Home in San Juan, TX. Funeral service will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 26, 2018, at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Pharr, TX. Interment will follow at Palm Valley Gardens in Pharr. Military honors will be conducted by VFW Post 7473 of Elsa.
Pallbearers will be Sigi Cantu, Jr., Freddy Cantu, Jr., Ruben Munoz, Bobby Joe Munoz, Jr., Rex Costley, Justo Duran, and David Cantu. Honorary pallbearers are Richard L. Cantu, Joel Brian Corona, Christian Costley, and Javier Duran.
Funeral services are under the direction of Memorial Funeral Home in San Juan, Texas.